OLOKOLA FREE TRADE ZONE: WE ARE OPEN FOR DISCUSSIONS - GOV. ABIODUN~NEWSEXTRA  - NEWS EXTRA ONLINE

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Friday, 13 March 2020

OLOKOLA FREE TRADE ZONE: WE ARE OPEN FOR DISCUSSIONS - GOV. ABIODUN~NEWSEXTRA 




The Ogun State Government says it is ready to open discussions with interested investors willing to invest in the Olokola Free Trade Zone, as the project is a big national asset that should not be allowed to die. 

The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun stated this when he received the management team of the National Inland Waterways Agency [NIWA], who paid him a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta on Thursday. 

He noted that, “we cannot leave the Trade Zone. Nobody is closing any avenue to develop the Olokola Free Trade Zone because it is so big a national asset”.    

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, Governor Abiodun said the State Government was looking at how to review and make use of the available facilities in the Free Trade Zone, adding that to improve on multi-modal transport infrastructure in the State, Government would collaborate with the NIWA in exploring the opportunities inherent in waterway transportation.

He said that the present administration was already weighing its options on enhancing rail and waterway transportation as a prerequisite to reducing the pressure on the roads.

"The pressure on our roads today has become a thing of worry to all. We welcome you to our dear State and we appreciate the dire need for us as an entity to collaborate on enhancing waterways development as an alternative means of commuting people and goods to other parts of the State safely.



"As a Gateway State, we pride ourselves as the entry point to the Country and as a result of this, we are poised to create viable partnerships with our stakeholders that would be meaningful, and by extension, bring succour to the people of the State,"  he stated.

 Speaking on the full operationalisation of a Jetty at Iwopin in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the State, facilitated by NIWA, Governor Abiodun said Government was delighted with the project, maintaining that there was need for the agency to assist in classifying the mode of commuting before the project finally takes off.

"On waterways passage, we want NIWA to come up with the modalities that would improve commercial interaction within the host community and even beyond," he maintained.

He called on NIWA to assist in opening up some of the inaccessible waterways by dredging them for easy navigation, as well as carry out the hydrological survey of the waterway transportat system for the overall benefit of the citizenry.

Intimating the host on the essence of the visit, the Chief Executive Officer of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu reiterated that the visit to Ogun State was part of the workings of the leadership of NIWA to acquaint itself with the operations of the Area Offices in the country and the office in Abeokuta, especially. He said this working visit has afforded the NIWA leadership to interact with stakeholders, explore other areas of likely collaboration and above all to intimate the Governor on their presence in the State.

Moghalu noted that there was an urgent need to shift emphasis to waterways development as a means of transporting both cargo and people. He explained that the agency was responsible for the opening up and maintenance of over 10,000km of waterways in the Country.

Speaking on waterway initiatives in the State, the Managing Director revealed that the Iwopin Jetty which would soon become operational, would aid the movement of both cargo and people at landing and takeoff points, just as it would reduce passenger traffic amongst others.

"We are set to engage the Ogun State Government in this direction that would ultimately open up the State for increased commercial activities using the waterways," he stated.

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